Mazda MX5 RF Tuning

"Thank you for reading our Mazda MX5 RF tuning guide."

The MX5 was very successful and won many fans and followers.

Mazda then decided to release a Retractable Fastback version in 2016. A limited run of 500 launch edition models made these highly sought after.

The MX5 RF is a awesome project car to fill your spare time. If you do your homework then you can create an awesome MX5 RF but don't be fooled there are lots of uprated modifications out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

We review MX5 RF tuning and show the premier upgrades. Mazda MX5 RFs are popular cars and with carefully chosen upgrades you can certainly maximize your driving opportunities.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

 

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many MX5 RF owners uprate the handling of their cars with fast road suspension modifications as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

Good suspension tweaks that dramatically benefit handling for the MX5 RF include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe in or out on the front wheels. Toe in for stability, or Toe out to improve cornering. It would also pay to improve the brakes, by adding larger discs and or higher friction pads..

We suggest that you fit modified suspension and lower the car by 28mm - 43 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with motorsport suspension.

Our aim in engine tuning should be to increase peak power at the top end.

Following our guidance for modding your MX5 RF you will create a practical but sporty car that will beat bigger cars.

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Engine tuning mods.

These mods uprated kits are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you get going.

Originally fitted with the following engines

  • 155 hp  (2.0 L ND1) 148 lbft @4600
  • 181 hp (2.0 L ND2) 151 lbft (from 2018 and boasts a higher 7500 redline)

Getting the correct grade of performance upgrade kits for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

Stage 1 mods: Panel air filter, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 28mm - 43 mm.), Alloy wheels, Remap, Lighter flywheel.

Stage 2 mods: high flow fuel injector, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, Power/Sport clutch.

Stage 3 mods: Sports gearbox, Engine balancing, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Competition cam, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

You really need to keep as much low end power as you can and aim for a wide power band across the rev range rather than a narrow top end power hike.

In this article we shall give a little insight into the world to the best upgrades for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance modification.A fast road cam will be one of the best NASP power mods you can do mechanically to your engine.

It improves the intake and exhaust durations and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a reflashed ECU. We'd also caution you not to go with a motor sports profile cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

When pushing up the power you will need to increase to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Most power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after tuning upgrades are done can usually be traced to timing or fuel delivery issues. Upgrading the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Air induction kits will only help to add power if your air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most small engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for MX5 RF engines you should settle for a high performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow through the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too wide or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional flowed (porting and polishing). These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. A good fast road sports clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never skimp or expect your standard clutch to cope. The best mods in our experience for your MX5 RF are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Turbo engines are just pleading to be remapped. You will see big power gains on most modern turbocharged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and big modifications for your money.

We've also come across some owners experimenting with twincharging conversions and making some impressively high power hikes.

The most phenomenal power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Superchargers are generally easier to add than turbos. It is difficult to map fuelling with a turbo as the boost comes on exponentially with engine speed.

Superchargers will give a boost which is correlating to engine speed so is simpler. Alternatively you could install water injection to cut down knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloy wheels are lighter they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. Get a good directional tread pattern tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your MX5 RF. The downside to large alloys on your MX5 RF is that you're changing your effective final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on performance and acceleration.

With this in mind we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 18 inches, although we know some of our members have fitted larger wheels with no problems.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss MX5 RF options in more detail with our MX5 RF owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Mazda tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which mods work best for them on each model of car. Comments are used to improve the accuracy of these articles which are continually updated.

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